DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – This is the second year the Singer family spent Christmas morning in a home they’re leasing.

While the setting is different, the meaning of the holiday remains the same.

“That’s what makes this day so special. It gives us that hope,” said Jim Singer.

On Christmas Day last year, their house near Preston and Royal in Dallas had just been declared a total loss.

Now one year later, Jim Singer recalled how difficult the next step was. “We were here when they demolished the old house. It was a little emotional watching the old house come completely down.”

His two teenagers, 17-yea- old Jackson and 14-year-old Brooklyn say adjusting to the pandemic has proven to be challenging, just like being displaced by the tornado.

Jackson said, “It’s obviously hard not being able to live in the house you grew up in the first 15 to 16 years of your life, but I think we adjusted to it pretty easily. A lot of that was my friends helped me a lot.”

Moments before the twister barreled through their neighborhood, they ran into a reinforced closet where they huddled together until it blew over.

Brooklyn said she was very afraid of tornados before last year, and now that fear has subsided slightly. “I think it’s a little less severe because we know what it was like, but it’s also still scary to know that it could happen again.”

The Singer family plans to rebuild where tornado destroyed their Dallas home (Jack Fink – CBS 11).

Jim said their new house will provide more protection.

“We are putting in a pretty nice safe room in this house. Brooklyn was pretty strong on that.”

The safe room will be made of steel. “Nothing will get us in that room,” he said.

They’re hoping to lay the foundation of their new home in the next 30 days.

More than one year later, the Singer’s neighborhood has been slow to come back. Each property is at a different stage in the rebuilding process.

Their neighbors are further along.

Another house just started being built at the end of their street, while a home across the street has a tarp on its roof and boarded-up windows, the same as it looked a year ago.

Jim said, “I think by the end of this next year, it’ll look a lot different. A lot more activity will have happened.”

They’re looking forward to spending next Christmas in their new home. “We’re very hopeful and excited about next year.”

Jim, Brooklyn and Jackson Singer (Jack Fink – CBS 11)

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